exhibitions > THIS DESIRE poetics & longing (3/23 - 5/5 18)

THIS DESIRE: poetics & longing

curated by Jenna Crowder

3/23 - 5/5 2018

That tender, aching nature of longing is rarely straightforward: take, for example, the need to belong, to be seen, to be acknowledged; how we yearn for a friend or a lover; or, perhaps, in quests for knowledge, distance, closeness, autonomy. To comprehend it, we may look to the complexity of our identities and perceptions; we may need to reach past the limitations of logic. An opportunity to relinquish rationality as the sole arbiter of truth might be found by inhabiting emotional, spiritual, and intuitive spaces instead. To suspend oneself in one’s own desires is to navigate through the non-linear, through parallel universes, and through dreams: in this suspension, we know our pasts, presents, and futures simultaneously. What lies in the vastness of our wants? How does the world answer when we push past our definitions, into the beyond?

THIS DESIRE presents work from nineteen contemporary artists and poets who explore the nature of desire and longing through the intersection of writing and art-making. Using language as material — representationally, symbolically, or as a springboard — the works in this exhibition act as maps for palpably navigating the infinity between the impossibility of to want and the physicality of to have. The tension between the two is buoyed through performance, gesture, and movement, suggesting that engagement and action are required before arrival. Far from using text as caption, writing as systemic communication, or visuals as representation, these artists work text and image into new languages that we may understand through all of our faculties of knowing. Set in the context of a visual arts space, these works muddy the distinction between the genres of writing and visual art. As much as the gallery renders them all visual works, so the act of reading extends to the visual objects: the space also becomes a library in which one can read a painting — and each of its elements — as fully as a poem and the words that comprise it.

Through installation, photography, painting, drawing, video, audio, correspondence, poetry, printmaking, sculpture, and ephemera, THIS DESIRE invites us to reflect on what we want and what we long for, and by extension, how the constitution of our desire might shape the world around us.

THIS DESIRE opens on Friday, March 23 at 5pm at Able Baker Contemporary, located at 29 Forest Avenue, Portland Maine. The show runs through Saturday, May 5, 2018.


Myron Beasley

Cairo Bats (Nadia Mounier, Hagar Masoud, Mai Al Shazly, Magdalena Kallenberger, Omneia Naguib, & Yvonne Buchheim)

Jon Calame

Jenna Crowder

DéLana R.A. Dameron & Jessica Lynne

Erin Johnson

Devin N. Morris

Bridget Frances Quinn

Julie Poitras Santos

D.A. Powell

Jimmy Riordan

Maia Snow

meg willing